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Keselowski: Hand won't be an issue at Daytona

June 29, 2014, Pat DeCola,

Two-time winner in 2014 seeks fifth top-three finish in six races

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SPARTA, Ky. -- Brad Keselowski celebrated Saturday night's win at Kentucky Speedway in a most unusual location: the infield care center.

The Team Penske driver, who led 199 of 267 laps to win the Quaker State 400 presented by Advance Auto Parts, sliced his right hand open in Victory Lane on a champagne bottle, trying to simultaneously shake up the suds and open it on the very podium where his race trophy sat.

His celebration cut short, the driver was whisked away to the infield care center to get four stitches before taking care of his post-race media obligations.


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"We were playing around with some champagne bottles, and as I told my good friend, 'We should have stuck with beer,'" Keselowski said. "We were having too much fun with champagne and one of the bottles broke and I cut my hand open. It's no big deal. … I hit it on something. I think I hit it on the corner of the podium, and it broke. I was trying to get the top off and shake it at the same time. People were spraying me; I couldn't really see all that well. Just one of them deals."

Among so much chatter about the bumps laced throughout the Kentucky asphalt that, coincidentally, cause the teeth of every driver to chatter as they rumble over them at 180 mph, this type of injury was the last thing anyone expected.

"The frontstretch bumps are a concussion, and Victory Lane is bleeding of the hand. I guess I don't have enough to lose upstairs to worry about the first one," Keselowski said. "You know, I did the typical guy thing. I said 'It's not that bad, it's not that bad,' and I shook it a couple times and there was blood flying everywhere. Then I thought, 'This is pretty bad.' And then I started kind of walking through my mind, 'Is this for real?'"

What comes next are the questions about what Keselowski will still be able to do with his stitched and bandaged hand, appropriately adorned with his most recent "Winner" sticker, considering two of the things he's most known for heavily involve his digital extremities: driving and tweeting.

No stranger to injury, Keselowski once tweeted a gruesome image of a broken ankle sustained during a test session at Road Atlanta in 2011. He said he's trying to rely less on his phone lately and didn't get a chance to tweet a picture of his most recent injury because he didn't have it on him in Victory Lane, but also -- and more importantly -- the laceration won't be an issue when the series heads to Daytona International Speedway next week for the Coke Zero 400 powered by Coca-Cola (Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET, TNT).

"Do I anticipate (any problems holding the steering wheel)? No, last time I had stitches, it was just seven days or so and we're going to Daytona, which is probably the easiest track you could ask for. I didn't break any bones or any of that stuff. I just put a big gash, so I don't think it'll be an issue."

For Keselowski, lost in the champagne circus is the fact that he continues a streak of dominance in which he's finished first, second or third in four of his past five races, vaulting him to fourth in the points standings and third in the Chase Grid. It's a return to form for the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion, who suffered through a down year in 2013, during which he missed the Chase.

With win number two of the season in the books and Team Penske looking like one of the strongest organizations the sport has to offer, this likely won't be the last Victory Lane celebration -- even if they have to switch to beer, or at least twist-offs, next time.

"Yeah, welcome to the party. It's all good. I'm just glad we won. It's a lot better story when you win and get hurt."


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